MG Takes on Thursday

This is my weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books, now with a re-vamped banner!

How to take part:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. 
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

This week, I’m celebrating …

Written by  Michelle Harrison
Cover Illustration by Melissa Castrillón
Published by Simon & Schuster

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

While she loved their new home with its wonky cottage and charming meadows, she found that now the thrill of a new place had worn off Pendlewick was possibly a bit too nice – a place lacking in adventure.

This book in three words:

SISTERHOOD, ADVENTURE, WINTERY

A Storm of Sisters is the fourth book in the A Pinch of Magic series which just keeps getting better and better.  This is a deliciously eerie, exciting and intriguing adventure that kept me utterly captivated:  an irresistible page-turner!

Now living in the village of Pendlewick, Betty Widdershins is craving another adventure so, when a letter arrives from cousin Clarissa telling them that she has broken her leg, Betty is only too keen to venture to Wilderness with her Granny and sisters, Fliss and Charlie to look after her.

With not enough room in her home, Clarissa assures the girls that they will be given a room at the local hotel, Echo Hall.  Of course, the sisters are excited at the prospect of staying there unsupervised, attending the winter market and possibly even a masked ball.   When a mistake occurs with room keys, Betty follows the maid only to see her disappear through a wall!  Could the rumours of a ghost haunting Echo Hall be true? 

It is not long before an adventure finds the sisters as they become entangled in discovering the truth behind a local legend which they are told by Clarissa.  A legend of a highway robber, known as Jack Frost, who lost life, love and treasure on an ill-fated theft from a fortune teller.  Does the legend live on in the ghostly sightings that tell of danger for loved ones?

This is such a brilliantly tense, eerie and exciting adventure that had me on the edge of my seat as I was completely caught up in the pulsating danger, tantalising twists and incredible revelations. 

I loved how richly atmospheric this was with a cold wintery setting, winter markets, a frozen lake hiding secrets, hauntings:  a perfect mix of eeriness and frozen beauty sprinkled with peril, intrigue and revenge.  I just have to say that I also loved the place names from Wilderness to Frostbite Lodge, Echo Hall and especially, Shivershock Lake – they give a real sense of the spine-tinglingly spooky and wintery heart of the story.

The bond of sisterhood between the girls is such a strength of this series.  It feels completely natural and full of love, support and camaraderie. The girls have such different personalities, but all are incredibly likeable, kind-hearted and courageous.  Granny is such a brilliant character with her penchant for a tipple, her straight-talking manner, and her clear love for her grandchildren. 

This is a dazzling addition to this incredible series brimming with wintery wonder, magical writing and heart-warming sisterhood.  I absolutely cannot wait to join the Widdershins on another adventure. 

Thank you to the Publishers and NetGalley for an e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

I’d love if anyone who wants to give this meme a go would comment in the comments box and include a link to your post so I can visit, comment and find some great middle-grade recommendations. If you do create a post and are on Twitter, and would like to share your post, please use the hashtag  #MGTakesOnThursday so I can find it, read it and share it!

WWW Wednesday

I never thought the day would come when I’d be reading three books at the same time! I’ve decided to really focus on catching up on some of my adults books and have taken some good advice from the wonderful Rachael at BellisDoesBooks – and it’s working. I’m reading The Whistling as my evening read. I’m absolutely loving it. It has ghostly, gothic vibes and is so atmospheric. I love the slow building of tension and cannot wait to get to the bottom of the mystery. I’m listening to The Rollercoaster Boy which is both poignant and heart-warming. I’m loving the friendships which develop between the children and the mystery they’re trying to solve. My heart aches for the children trying to cope with parents who are unwell, or too busy to offer them the care they crave. I’m re-reading The Beast and the Bethany: Revenge of the Beast as I’m going to be taking part in a Blog Tour next week.

I’ve finished reading The Wind Child which was absolutely mesmerising. I loved the Slavic folklore and the quest the children undertake to try to get Mara’s father back from the dead. I’m aiming to post my review shortly.

I’m hoping to read Grandpa Frank’s Great Big Bucket List next.

Have you read any of these? What are you reading?

MG Takes on Thursday

This is my weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books, now with a re-vamped banner!

How to take part:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. 
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

This week, I’m celebrating …

Written by  Lindsay Littleson
Cover Illustration by Samantha Woo
Published by Floris Books

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

Then as Finn gazed at the filmy mist, it tore like thin gauze and for a moment he had a view.

This book in three words:

FRIENDSHIP, ADVENTURE, MAGICAL

Secrets of the Last Merfolk is an exciting, action-packed dual-narrative story that swept me into a magical, heart-pounding adventure to discover the truth behind a legend.

Finn has come to the Scottish coastal town of Dunlyre to spend Christmas with his father, stepmother and little sister, Ava; however, it is not long before he discovers that his father has work plans as he is the architect involved in the local harbour development.

Sage and her younger brother Taj move around a lot with their environmental campaigner mothers who have come to Dunlyre to protest about the harbour development.

Finn sees unusual swimmers at sea, and Sage hears strange, haunting singing. When Sage finds a shell box with a silver lock, she wonders if there could be any truth in the legend of the merfolk that her mother has told her.  When Finn gets in trouble swimming out at sea, he is rescued by merfolk and Sage who is kayaking nearby.  The key opens the shell box and inside is a map:  could it be the location of the last merfolk?

When Sage and Finn follow the map, they discover the truth:  merfolk are real, and they are in desperate need of the children’s help.  Will Sage and Finn have the courage to help their new friends defeat an ancient enemy intent on their destruction?

This is an incredibly exciting, fast-paced story with heart-pounding danger as secrets are uncovered and truths revealed.   I really enjoyed the blending of realism with fantastical elements.  Whilst this adventure has the incredible legend of the merfolk threaded throughout, it also deals with issues such as divorce, adjusting to new family relationships and bullying as well as environmental issues related to development and protecting the seas.  I loved the depiction of the merfolk as powerful creatures, grieving a terrible loss and trying to survive.

A fantastic and thrilling read for children of 9+.

I’d love if anyone who wants to give this meme a go would comment in the comments box and include a link to your post so I can visit, comment and find some great middle-grade recommendations. If you do create a post and are on Twitter, and would like to share your post, please use the hashtag  #MGTakesOnThursday so I can find it, read it and share it!

WWW Wednesday

I’m going to be starting The Wind Child this evening, so I’m counting it as what I’m reading!

I finished Circus Maximus Rivals on the Track which I really enjoyed. It really immersed me in this world and it was wonderful to follow Dido again. I will be posting my review shortly. I also finished listening to The Hatmakers which I absolutely loved. The concept of makers is brilliant and the ending (I’m so glad it finished in this way) makes me very keen to read The Mapmakers. This was exciting, fast-paced and humorous – definitely a recommended read. I also read Secrets of the Last Merfolk which is a great adventure with an important environmental message. Review coming very soon! Finally, a child in my class recommended Jelly and, as I want to try more contemporary, I thought I’d give it a go. This was a one-sitting read for me. I really enjoyed this one, and thought the messages around hiding your true self to ‘fit in’ were brilliantly, almost painfully, portrayed. A really fantastic read, probably more geared towards top end year 6 and into secondary school.

I’m going to listen to The Rollercoaster Boy next. Not sure what I’m going to pick up as a physical book yet.

Have you read any of these? What are you reading?

Six for Sunday

The January theme for Six for Sunday, hosted by A Little But a Lot is Fresh Starts and today’s prompt is for Bookish Resolutions. I haven’t made any resolutions this year, but I have had a think about this one, and I’m going to try really hard to meet these ones!

  1. I read almost exclusively middle-grade fiction, so I’m going to try to read at least one of the adult books on my reading shelves each month.
  2. I now have a ridiculously large owned TBR which I keep adding to, so I’m going to try to read a few from my owned lists each month to try to make a small dent in my shelves.
  3. I read a lot of fantasy and historical middle-grade, so I’m going to try to read some more contemporary books to broaden my reading.
  4. I have a habit of starting some series, enjoying them, buying the next book and then not reading them, so I’m going to try to get to more next books in series that I own.
  5. I’m going to aim to remember to post more of my reviews on Review Sites rather than just on my Blog. I am terrible at remembering to cross-post reviews.
  6. I really want to get my 100 Reviews Badge on NetGalley this year.

Have you made any bookish resolutions this year?

February anticipated releases

There are LOTS of books due for release in February which I am really looking forward to reading. There are a few I’ve been lucky enough to have early access to. I have read A Storm of Sisters and Rivals on the Track, both of which I will be getting for my class library as they are brilliant continuations of series I love.

I’ve taken the synopsis for each of these books from the Waterstones website. Some of these are continuation of series I’ve loved; some are by authors whose previous books I’ve really enjoyed; and, others are by new-to-me or debut authors whose books have caught my interest!

Release Date: 3rd February

When the Widdershins sisters and Granny are called away in deepest winter to look after cousin Clarissa, it doesn’t take long for adventure – or trouble – to find them. The town of Little Nipping has plenty to explore with its frozen lake and winter market, as well as being haunted by a doomed highwayman, searching for lost treasure. But the legends are true and seeing a ghostly figure one night, the girls realise that Granny is in terrible danger. As an icy storm rages, the race to save her begins – can they reach the treasure before the highwayman claims another soul?

After one trick too many, Loki is banished to live on Earth as a “normal” school boy. Forbidden from using his AWESOME godly powers, Loki must show moral improvement. As he records his lies THE TRUTH in his magical (judgemental) diary, it becomes clear Loki hasn’t a clue how to tell good from evil, trust from tricks, or friends from enemies.

No human has ever returned from Navia, the Slavic afterlife. But twelve-year-old Mara is not entirely human. She is the granddaughter of Stribog, the god of winter winds and she’s determined to bring her beloved father back from the dead. Though powerless, Mara and her best friend Torniv, the bear-shifter, set out on an epic journey to defy the gods and rescue her father. On their epic journey they will bargain with forest lords, free goddesses from enchantments, sail the stormy seas in a ship made of gold and dodge the cooking pot of the villainous Baba Latingorka. Little do the intrepid duo know of the terrible forces they have set in motion, for the world is full of darkness and Mara will have to rely on her wits to survive.

When twelve-year-old Ami arrives at The Escape, she thinks it’s just a game – the ultimate escape room with puzzles and challenges to beat before time runs out. Meeting her teammates, Adjoa, Ibrahim, Oscar and Min, Ami learns from the Host that they have been chosen to save the world and they must work together to find the Answer. But as he locks them inside the first room, they quickly realise this is no ordinary game. From a cavernous library of dust to an ancient Mayan tomb, a deserted shopping mall stalked by extinct animals to the command module of a spaceship heading to Mars, the perils of The Escape seem endless. Can Ami and her friends find the Answer before it’s too late?

Malaya, 1942. Nisha’s home is destroyed by war and she and her mother, Amma, flee to her father’s ancestral house in England, perched on a cliff top on the cold Northern coast. When Amma falls gravely ill, Nisha is left to face her formidable grandmother alone. Grandmother’s rules are countless, and her Anglo-Indian granddaughter is even forbidden from climbing the old weeping tree. But when a ghost child beckons Nisha to sit under its boughs, and promises her Amma’s life in return for three truths, its pull proves irresistible…

When Frank John Davenport inherits piles of money from a grandma he didn’t know he had, things take an unexpected turn… Because the money comes with STRICT instructions… and a NEW grandpa. Frank quickly compiles a list of all the ways he can spend the money and look after his grumpy grandpa. Money may buy hot-air balloon rides, monster-truck lessons and epic parkour experiences, but can Frank discover that happiness is, in fact, priceless?

Bea Black is all settled into her new life in Little Spellshire, a town with a magical secret. She’s made tonnes of friends at witch school, learned how to levitate frogs (just about) and been working hard on polishing up her broom skills. So when the Winter Solstice Grand Tournament rolls round, she’s ready to rise to the next challenge and fly high. But then Ms Sparks decides that this year’s tournament will be a bit … er … different. That is, it won’t be an Extraordinary Grand Tournament at all, but rather a very ordinary sports day with Spellshire Academy! With magic firmly forbidden and rivalry reaching new heights, who will emerge victorious? And more importantly, will Bea’s friendship with her best non-witchy friend Ash survive the competition?

Archie Crumb is having a tough time. Picked-on at school, picked last for any team; his home has been sad and quiet since Dad left and his luck feels like its run out. But things start looking up when Archie bumps his head and literally sees stars: his favourite famous football player standing in front of him, granting him nine wishes. This is INCREDIBLE! Unlimited ice cream, a whole day of eating pizza and playing on the X-Box, revenge on the bullies, becoming the star player in a televised football tournament: finally, all his dreams can come true! Will Archie wish his way to happiness? Or will he realise that magic wishes may be wonderful, but only he has the true power to change his life?

Dido is the only girl ever to have raced to victory at the Circus Maximus, Rome’s greatest sporting arena. Now she and her beloved horse, Porcellus, are in hiding, and the Emperor Caligula has put a price on their heads. Can she outwit the emperor and his bounty hunters? And will a shocking family secret stop her in her tracks, or spur her on to make a daring return, helped by a one-eyed mare with a heart as brave as her own?

Strange things have been happening to Layah and her younger sister, Izzie, ever since their mother dragged them to a rain-soaked cottage miles from anywhere in the Lake District: there is a peculiar whistling at night, a handful of unusual feathers appear on their doorstep and there are murmurings of a shadowed woman in the forest. And their mother is behaving very oddly. Layah is mourning the loss of her dear grandmother in Poland – and can almost hear her Babcia’s voice telling her the old myths and fairy tales from that magical place. And as the holiday takes on a dark twist, Layah begins to wonder if the myths might just be real. 

Ash has always lived in Last Village, lonely since the day his father left and never came back. The world is unbearably hot, water is drying up, and life is hard. After a vicious thunderstorm, Ash wakes to find that the village’s water has completely run out, and all the other villagers have mysteriously disappeared. Accompanied by the outcast Bronwyn, Ash sets off in search of water, for answers about what happened to the villagers, with hope they might find ‘The Kingdom’ – a rumoured land to the north where life still flourishes. Ash and Bronwyn have to survive a journey across an arid landscape, discovering that other people out there are even more dangerous than the lightning strikes that follow them. Then they reach The Wall – beyond it, something impossible. Lying in wait are the answers Ash is searching for, and maybe even the truth about what happened to his father. If only he could get past The Wall… Sometimes all it takes is just one spark.

Washed up as a baby beside a remote lighthouse and raised by a mermaid, Alpha Lux was the first foundling at Haven Point. Now the lighthouse is a ramshackle home for any disabled person who needs somewhere to belong. Looting from passing ships to make a living, they call themselves the Wrecklings, and for the children of Haven Point life is spent adventuring on the wild shore (and getting into trouble with the grown-ups). But when Alpha spots a strange light up on the headland, she realizes that her beloved family are in danger of being discovered by Outsiders. With their home under threat, the Wrecklings must decide what kind of future they want… and what they’re willing to do to get it.

Edinburgh is a city filled with magical creatures. No one can see them… until Ramya Knox. As she is pulled into her family’s world of secrets and spells, Ramya sets out to discover the truth behind the Hidden Folk with only three words of warning from her grandfather: Beware the Sirens. Plunged into an adventure that will change everything, Ramya is about to learn that there is more to her powers than she ever imagined.

Sheba the wolf girl joins an unusual troupe of performers that includes Pyewacket, a witch’s imp; Gigantus the giant and Sister Moon, a knife thrower. For the first time in her life she feels she might make true friends, and learn a real stage craft. But soon that’s not all she has to think about… Children are being sucked into the Thames and there have been strange sightings of a mechanical monster. The carnival troupe know first-hand that looks only tell half a story – they become determined to find these forgotten children. Perhaps they will unravel the mystery that has defied even the law!

Victoria Stitch has escaped from the confines of Wiskling Wood and flown into the human world. Here, she breaks the most sacred of all wiskling laws and speaks to a human. Where she is feared and disgraced in Wiskling Wood, she is adored and revered in the human world. But the net is closing in. There are wisklings who would like to end Victoria Stitch’s famous reign in the human world for good. Will her beloved twin, Celestine, be able to warn her in time? And even if she can, will Victoria Stitch listen?

Release Date: 17th February

Ever since Cordelia discovered the hidden map in her father’s precious telescope, she’s been searching the streets of London by starlight and trying to uncover its secrets. She’s sure that her missing father is out there somewhere, and that if she follows his map, she’ll finally discover the truth about his disappearance. She never expects to stumble upon a secret society of Mapmakers – or to learn that magic isn’t limited to the few Maker families, but is instead is all around, if you just know where to look… But danger is lurking around every corner, and Cordelia must convince the rival Maker families to work together for once – not only to bring her father home, but to save the very essence of magic itself…

Billionaire train enthusiast August Reza has invited Harrison Beck and Uncle Nat on the maiden voyage of the Solar Express – the winning design of his Reza’s Rocket competition. But during the journey, they discover the train has been sabotaged, hurtling passengers into a heart-stopping, action-packed, thrill ride across the Australian Outback. Can Hal find the saboteur and stop the runaway train before disaster strikes?

Release Date: 24th February

Thirteen-year-old Ivy North is an adventurer. She can pitch a tent in four minutes flat, knows the local landscape like the back of her hand, and she’s an expert map reader. There’s just one problem. She’s afraid to go outside. But when her little brother is transformed into a kestrel by a powerful sorcerer, Ivy is the only one who can rescue him. Following him through a mysterious hole in the garden wall, she emerges in Underfell — an enchanted realm that seems like the Lake District she knows, but is dangerously different. Battling her dread of being out in the open, Ivy must gather all her courage to navigate a path across this extraordinary world, where powerful fairies with birds’ wings fly through purple skies and a ghostly spectre haunts her every step. With the help of an unexpected new friend, can Ivy break the spell — before her brother becomes a bird forever?

February just proves why I will never, ever get anywhere near the bottom of my TBR! I’m looking forward to reading all of these, and adding them to my class bookshelf. Do any of these pique your interest?

WWW Wednesday

I’m still listening to The Hatmakers, and am definitely looking forward to the next one! I’m about half way through Circus Maximus: Rivals on the Track which is a brilliant second book in the series. I’m totally invested in what happens to Dido who is such a wonderful character.

I finished reading Sleep-Over Take-Over which was such a fun read, and have posted my review.

I’m hoping to pick up The Wind Child next.

Have you read any of these? What are you reading?

Review: Sleep-Over Take-Over

Sleep-over Take-over is an absolute rollicking delight of an adventure, guaranteed to bring fits of giggles:  hilarious with a capital H, heart-warming and utterly, zanily brilliant. 

Inseparable best friends Otis and Jagger are looking forward to an epic weekend chilling out together whilst everyone else in their class attends the 11th birthday party sleepover of super-rich Rocco Rococo.  That is until the boys find themselves unexpectedly invited to the sleepover, an offer which Jagger can’t resist, so Otis decides to go along too.  Could this be the worst decision of his young life so far, or will it open up unexpected opportunities?

When the boys arrive at the party, they are not exactly welcomed with open arms, but they are blown away by what is on offer:  fire jugglers, unicyclists, dodgems and an irresistible chocolate fountain! 

Waking up the following morning, Otis should be able to reflect on the fun he has had with Jagger but there are two big problems:  Jagger is nowhere to be found, and Otis cannot remember anything about what happened.  Oh, did I say, there were two problems.  Well, slight big understatement:  Otis is met with a chaotic – but very funny – scene.  There is a donkey breathing in his face; the birthday boy has ‘loser’ tattooed on his forehead; there’s a crate of doves and a suitcase of sausages; and, did I mention that Otis is wearing a wedding dress? 

Rocco’s so-called friends quickly scarper, leaving Otis and Rocco, who also can’t remember the events of his party, to solve the mystery of what has happened.  Will they be able to return the unexpected morning-after findings to their rightful owners before Rocco is grounded? 

And so begins a riotous escapade as Otis and Rocco race to return what is not theirs, as they attempt to uncover the real culprit, and as they work to discover what actually happened at the sleepover.

Just wow de wow!  This is a sizzlingly brilliant, laugh-out-loud funny story that kept me giggling throughout, and ever so eager to find out what on earth happened and who was behind the mayhem.  I loved that this action-packed, exciting adventure is overflowing with on point humour:  a mixture of sharp, wickedly funny observations and slapstick hilarity.  The encounters that the children have as they attempt to sort out the chaos that they have awoken to overflows with comedic genius, and reveals clever nuggets to lead the reader towards an unexpected, but fantastic, revelation. 

I guess, sometimes, you just gotta wear your weirdness with pride; it’s when you try to hide it that problems start.

Not only is this story a wickedly fun read; it also has a great mystery to solve, and some wonderful messages about friendship, belonging, acceptance, and the importance of being true to yourself. I think these are messages that will resonate with children, especially as they move to secondary schools.

The illustrations complement the humour and vibrancy of the story perfectly, and bring plenty of opportunities for extra giggles!

Sleep-over Take-over is a perfect blend of humour and heart and is sure to be a rip-roaring hit with children of 9+.  I cannot wait to share this one with my Year 6 class!

Thank you to Harriet Dunlea and Scholastic for a copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

#Six for Sunday

The January theme for Six for Sunday, hosted by A Little But a Lot is Fresh Starts and today’s prompt is for Books you can’t wait for. There are lots of books I’m really looking forward to this year. I’m not going to include February releases as I will do an anticipated reads Blog Post for February soon, so I’m going to include books being released in March and beyond. I have been lucky enough to get early access to some upcoming releases, so I will also not be including them. It was so difficult to choose only six books, and I’m sure there are lots I haven’t heard about yet . I think I’m in for another year of incredible book releases!

Published on 3rd March

I’ve absolutely loved the first three books in this magical series, and am so looking forward to Willow’s next adventure. Oswin has to be my favourite animal companion ever!

Waterstones Synopsis:

Starfell is on the edge of disaster. The fight against Silas, the wizard determined to steal all magic for himself, is far from over – but how can Willow make a difference when her powers have been taken? With the help of her friends, the young witch sets off to the treacherous Mountains of Nach. There, she hopes to find the Craegun, a powerful beast believed to restore anything that has been lost – for a heavy price. The mission is fraught with danger, but there’s no turning back . . . or the magic of Willow’s world will be lost forever. 

Published on 31st March

Sophie Anderson is an auto-buy author for me. I’ve absolutely loved her first three books, The House with Chicken Legs, The Girl who Speaks Bear and The Castle of Tangled Magic. I’ve pre-ordered this one, and absolutely cannot wait to read it.

Waterstones Synopsis:

The Island of Morovia is shaped like a broken heart. The humans live on one side of the island, and the alkonosts – the bird-people – live on the other. But it wasn’t always this way… Linnet wishes she could sing magic, like her father, Nightingale – and bring the two sides of her island together again. For her land has been divided by a terrible tragedy, and Linnet has been banished with her father to the deepest swamps, leaving behind her best friends, Hero and Silver. So when her father is captured, Linnet must be brave and embark on a treacherous journey. Through alligator pools and sinking sands, she finds new friends. Yet without her singing magic, Linnet discovers something even more powerful. Something that could save her father, and heal the broken heart of her island once more…

Published on 14th April

I absolutely loved Amari and the Night Brothers. This is one of my most anticipated reads of 2022!

Waterstones Synopsis:

After finding her brother and saving the entire supernatural world, Amari Peters is convinced her first full summer as a Junior Agent will be a breeze. But between the fearsome new Head Minister’s strict anti-magician agenda, fierce Junior Agent rivalries, and her brother Quinton’s curse steadily worsening, Amari’s plate is full. So when the secretive League of Magicians offers her a chance to stand up for magiciankind as its new leader, she declines. She’s got enough to worry about! But her refusal allows someone else to step forward, a magician with dangerous plans for the League. This challenge sparks the start of the Great Game, a competition to decide who will become the Night Brothers’ successor and determine the future of magiciankind. The Great Game is both mysterious and deadly, but among the winner’s magical rewards is Quinton’s last hope . . . so how can Amari refuse?

Published on 14th April

Boarding school, witches and Faeries …. this sounds like my PERFECT kind of read. I’ve been seeing this all over Twitter and, whilst I try very hard not to get book envy, I mist admit that I’m very keen to get my hands on this one!

Waterstones Synopsis:

It has been seven years since Cassie Morgan last saw her mother. Left at a dreary boarding school, she spends her days hiding from the school bully and reading forbidden story books about the world of Faerie. Certain that her mother is still alive, Cassie is determined to find her, whatever the dangers, and runs away from school. Lost and alone, she is chased by a pack of goblins but, to her surprise, escapes with the help of a flying broom and a talking cat named Montague, who takes her to the cosy village of Hedgely. Here she discovers that she comes from a family of witches, women who protect Britain from the denizens of Faerie, who are all too real and far more frightening than her story books suggest.

Published on 5th May

I cannot believe this is the last adventure for the Brightstorm twins! I’ve devoured all of Vashti’s books. I think if I had to choose one book that I’m looking forward to the most this year, it would be this one!

Waterstones Synopsis:

The exciting conclusion to the Brightstorm twins’ adventure-packed story! Arthur, Maudie, and the rest of the Aurora crew are going on a mission to the Volcanic North, where years before their parents discovered the moth that is their family symbol. But their scheming, ambitious aunt, Eudora Vane, is still dedicated to destroying the Brightstorm family name, and the further north the Aurora travels, the more long-buried secrets are revealed…

Released on 9th June

I’ve absolutely loved reading The Storm Keeper trilogy, so I’m very much looking forward to another story set in Ireland by Catherine Doyle. I love Irish myths and legends and read many growing up in Ireland, and especially loved the legend of Oisín and Niamh set in Tír na nÓg. I absolutely can’t wait to to read Catherine’s story based on the land of eternal youth.

Waterstones Synopsis:

Amy and Liam Bell have been packed off to stay at Gran’s house in the wilds of Connemara for the summer. Out for a walk on the first morning of their holiday, they trace the flight of a hawk to a nearby waterfall – only to watch the bird disappear through it. Intrigued, the children follow and soon realise they’ve discovered the entrance to Tir na nOg, the legendary land of eternal youth. But they’ve been tricked. Almost immediately Liam is captured by a troop of headless horsemen who take him to Tarlock, the ruling sorcerer of Tir na nOg, who is seeking the bones of a human child for a sinister new spell.

There are so many fantastic books being released in 2022. Are any of these on your anticipated reads, or do you have other recommendations?

December Wrap-Up

I’m slightly late doing December’s wrap-up as I had family visiting and then – back to work! I had a really wonderful Christmas and New Year with lots of time to relax at the start of the holiday and then enjoy much-needed catch-up time with my sister in real life rather than via phone! Too much food, too much drink but lots of relaxing and fun. I hope everyone who reads this had a great Christmas and a rather belated Happy New Year!

Books I’ve read:

I’ve read 11 books this month, 10 physical copies (although one started as audiobook and then finished as physical copy), e-book and audiobook.

NetGalley:

My Feedback Ratio is at 95%. I’ve read and reviewed the two books I requested on NetGalley in November:  The Mermaid in the Millpond and A Storm of Sisters which is now the full copy, not a sampler. I also couldn’t resist requesting another two which I have been approved to read: The Secret of the Treasure Keepers and Yesterday Crumb and the Storm in a Teacup.

Books sent by publishers:

I have been lucky enough to have been sent these books by publishers this month.

Books bought and presents:

I’ve bought 8 books and been gifted 4 at Christmas.

That’s a wrap! How has your reading month been? Have you read any of these? Have you any of them on your TBR?